Council to invest £785,000 into play areas

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Crawley Borough Council is proposing to invest £785,000 in play facilities across the town over the next four years.

But there are also plans to close four play areas in Bewbush with the possibility of two more to follow.

The plans for 2014/15-2016/17, which also include improvements to the children’s play outreach programme, will be debated by the council’s Cabinet on Wednesday December 4.

The Cabinet will hear about potential future improvements worth an extra £740,000 in 2017/18-2018/19.

A council spokesman said: “Eleven play sites were considered for removal in Bewbush, two in Broadfield and seven in Ifield in November 2012.

“However, following consultation with residents and usage surveys the council is not proposing to remove any play areas in Broadfield or Ifield and close four play areas in Bewbush, with the potential for two more to be removed if the proposed development in the west of Bewbush proceeds.

“If the proposals are given the go ahead, the four removed play areas – which will be within 200m of another playground which will be improved – will be grassed.”

The plans for 2014-2017 also include the installation of a new play area in Maidenbower as well as improvements to eight play areas.

Cllr Duncan Crow, Cabinet member for Leisure and Culture, said: “We’re looking to make this large investment in the town’s play facilities because we know how important it is for children to be active and we want to have more of a balance in play equipment available across the town.

“These new improvement proposals, as well as the Play Training Programme and Streets Alive, follow the investments made at our larger play areas over the past five years.

“In terms of closures, we’ve listened to what residents have told us over the past year and ensured our plans are aligned with the wishes of Crawley’s children, closing fewer play areas while making major improvements to the most popular, larger sites.”